By Teachers, For Teachers
Ok...it's back to school time! Whether you go back to school next week or in a few weeks, it's time to start gearing up for the upcoming school year. And, just like the beginning of every school year, your principal will hold a faculty meeting (or two...or three...or more) at which he/she will explain the importance of parent involvement on a child's education.
There is no doubt that there is a strong positive correlation between parent involvement and student achievement. So...what are you going to do to increase parent involvement in your classroom this year? My suggestion...Start a blog!
Class Blog Benefits
There is no easier way to keep your parents up-to-date on what is going on in the classroom than with a blog. I update my classroom blog each and every week during the school year. The blog explains what we are studying that week, the homework for the week, as well as any other important dates.
I also provide links to the district website, school website, school calendar, and to my class syllabus. Of course, you can add anything you want to your blog... pictures, videos, audios etc. Here's the best part though...When parents visit the blog they will see a place where they can "subscribe" to my blog posts. By subscribing, parents are automatically sent updates directly to their email address whenever I make a new post. Or, if they prefer, they can subscribe via their favorite newsreader such as My Yahoo, Google Reader, My AOL etc. Just think how much more involved your parents will be if they are updated every week in this manner.
Now here's some more great news...not only is a blog a great way to increase parent involvement, it is also VERY easy to set up. Let me show you how... First, you will need to buy and host a domain name (such as www.yoursite.com). To register the domain name will cost you approximately $10/year and to host your blog with a reputable company will cost you roughly $7/month. Not really a huge expense...especially when the benefits are so great. And, you may even be able to get your school to pay for it. :)
While you do not have to register your domain through the same company that you host your blog with, if you are a beginner it may be easier to do so and you may save yourself the $10 registration fee as well. The only hosting company I ever recommend is Bluehost. I use Bluehost for all my websites and I now have over twenty different sites. Not only do they have everything you need to quickly and easily set up you blog, but they also have 24/7 customer service that is second to none. Once you have your Bluehost account set up you will login to your account and find the "Wordpress" icon towards the bottom of the page (it's a W). Click on the icon and then follow the VERY simple directions to install your Wordpress blog. Once your blog is installed you can change the theme of your blog, add whatever links you want etc.
[Editor’s note: There are a plethora of free blogging sites, such as Blogger, Tumblr, Wordpress, TeacherLingo, Edublogs, etc. You may also want to check with your school to see if they have website/blog resources you can tap into.]
It is very easy to operate and your students' parents will thank you for it! Not only will you get more parent involvement, but you will also see an increase in homework completion and, of course, an increase in academic achievement.
So what are you waiting for...go set up your classroom blog right now!
Share your blog tips in the comments section!